Football Night In Columbia

Produced by Chelsea Land

Rock Bridge High School and Hickman High School played each other for the first time in 1981. They met again in 1994 and 1995; since 2000, they have played every year in the Providence Bowl, named after the street where both schools are located. Usually played at Mizzou’s Faurot Field, the Providence Bowl changed venues this year due to scheduling conflicts with University of Missouri opponent Arkansas State University. The game took place on LeMone Field at Hickman on Sept. 27; the Rock Bridge Bruins defeated the Hickman Kewpies 27-10. In the teams’ 18 meetings (including two games last year — regular season plus an overtime thriller in postseason play), Hickman holds a 10-8 edge in the crosstown rivalry.

More Columbia High School Football Traditions

Some local football traditions have been decades in the making. Others, with the opening of the brand-new Battle High School, are new. All provide opportunities for students, athletes and fans to join together in the name of school spirit.

High School Football Jamboree

This year marked the first football Jamboree at Battle High School. The Jamboree offered fans a look at three Columbia prep teams as Hickman, Rock Bridge and Battle scrimmaged against each another. The event kicked off the high school football season and allowed Battle to showcase its brand-new facilities. In past years, Rock Bridge and Hickman have scrimmaged each other with Jamboree participation from teams in surrounding areas.

Hickman-Jefferson City Rivalry

Hickman and Jefferson City high schools have played at least once annually since 1919, making it the second-longest running rivalry in the state after Kirkwood versus Webster Groves. Hickman leads the 94-year-old series 53-52-4, although Jefferson City closed the gap this year with a 40-33 win on Friday, Oct. 4.


Hickman High School’s Kewpie doll is the only known school Kewpie mascot in the world. Kewpie became the school’s mascot during the 1913-14 school year at Columbia High School, which later became Hickman in 1927. Legend has it that the school’s secretary placed her own Kewpie doll in the center of the basketball court to bring the team good luck during a game. The doll lasted the entire game on the court without being broken or disturbed and became a good luck mascot after the team’s victory.

When Rock Bridge High School opened in 1973, the student council president created a ballot for students to choose the school’s mascot. On the list were Turtles, Patriots, Roadrunners, Rebels and Bruins. Students selected Bruins, the mascot that remains today.

In 2011, when Battle High School was preparing for its August 2013 opening, the school held a contest to decide what the new Spartan mascot would look like. Nearly 2,300 sixth- through eighth-graders voted on a series of drawings and selected the Spartan drawn by Duy Tran, a senior at Hickman.


Hickman and Rock Bridge — and now Battle — do not choose a homecoming king. Annually, around 10 female students are queen candidates at each school. Each school’s homecoming is a weeklong series of events culminating in a football game and dance.

Traditionally, both Hickman and Rock Bridge came together for a joint high school homecoming parade on Broadway, showcasing both the queen candidates and various floats built by students. The parade was canceled in 2012, however, and none was planned this year for any school’s homecoming celebrations. The schools filled homecoming week with alternative events and brought back old traditions, including a bonfire at Rock Bridge. Battle’s homecoming football game was a “white-out,” during which players and spectators wore all white.

Thursday Night Meals

In its inaugural season, one of Battle football’s first traditions was bringing together the school’s 50 varsity football players and coaching staff for dinner every Thursday. Head Coach Justin Conyers says this helps bring the team together while supporting a local business. The team also eats meals together before each game.